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Opus Dei seeks adult rating for Da Vinci Code

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 3:02 pm
by emad
<br>By Hugh Davies<br>Telegraph<br><br><br>The Catholic organisation Opus Dei is asking censors to give the Hollywood version of Dan Brown's best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code an adult rating because of the "hateful image" of the group it portrays.<br><br>Opus Dei, which is often criticised as ultra-conservative and secretive, is particularly angry that a key figure in the story, a self-flagellating monk, is cast as a member and commits a grisly murder at the behest of a delusional bishop.<br><br>It said there were no monks in the order. In addition, the story "falsely depicts" members "lying, stealing, drugging people, and otherwise acting unethically".<br><br>Marc Carroggio, a spokesman, said: "Any adult can distinguish reality from fiction, but when history is manipulated you cannot expect a child to make proper judgments."<br><br>The organisation has already asked Ron Howard, the director of the film, which is released in May, to remove its name from the script.<br><br>Howard said: "There will be no placating. Opus Dei is mentioned in the book, and we didn't shy away from that or any other aspect of the story."<br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href=""></a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--> <br> <p></p><i></i>

Re: Opus Dei seeks adult rating for Da Vinci Code

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 3:28 pm
by dbeach
I bet<br><br>scalia..alito <br><br>are both members of opus dei ..<br><br>and I bet many clerics are in it and are fascist like them<br><br>I am looking forward to the movie ..<br><br>Although Ron Howard is not my fave.. <p></p><i></i>

Re: Opus Dei seeks adult rating for Da Vinci Code

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 4:43 pm
by professorpan
Alito is Opus Dei?<br><br>Sources, please? <p></p><i></i>


PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 5:33 pm
by dbeach
I did not state it as fact.<br><br>"Link:LA Times Alito has some liberal supporters<br><br>Nominee Has Some Unexpected Supporters # Liberals who have worked with Samuel A. Alito Jr. say he is fair, not a rigid ideologue. <br>By David G. Savage and Henry Weinstein, Times Staff Writers<br><br>WASHINGTON — Samuel A. Alito Jr. was quickly branded a hard-core conservative after President Bush announced his nomination, but a surprising number of liberal-leaning judges and ex-clerks say they support his elevation to the Supreme Court.<br><br>Those who have worked alongside him say he was neither an ideologue nor a judge with an agenda, conservative or otherwise. They caution against attaching a label to Alito.<br><br><br>More at the original site. Names of several "liberal and/or Democrat" supporters of Alito. I would like to know how the reporters found these people, but anyway Alito may not be quite as bad as he is portrayed by his rabid supporters and their Rovian tactics.<br><br>There are dark rumors around that Alito is a member of Opus Dei<br><br><br>. . . The American Catholic co-editor Catharine A. Henningsen revealed why this highly secretive group might be of concern to average Joes:<br><br>"Immediately following that revelation [that Hanssen was a member of Opus Dei] stories began to surface in the press claiming that FBI Director, Louis Freeh and Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are also Opus Dei members. Opus Dei denies that Freeh, Scalia and Thomas are members, though Freeh sends his son to the Opus Dei School, The Heights, and Scalia's wife is reported to regularly attend Opus Dei functions. Robert Hanssen, Justice Scalia and Louis Freeh also all worship at St. Catherine of Siena parish in Great Falls, Virginia, where the Tridentine Latin Mass is offered, rather than the new order of the Mass declared by Paul VI." [The American Catholic] <!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href=""></a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--> <br><br><br>And it seems more than passing strange that the makeup of the SCOTUS will include 5 Catholics out of nine judges if Alito is confirmed is not being mentioned in the press. While religious tests for public office are not allowed, it might appear that being Catholic has become one of them. <br><br>It would seem that athiests and agnostics might be valuable assets on a court since they are not likely to be saying "God will take this poor bastard home if we execute him wrongly"."<br><br> <p></p><i></i>

You've got to laugh ...

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 7:32 pm
by Quentin Quire
<!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>"Any adult can distinguish reality from fiction, but when history is manipulated you cannot expect a child to make proper judgments."<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--><br><br>Which is pretty much a good argument for not indoctrinating children into religious belief systems from an early age. <br><br>I wonder if Opus Dei are aware of the concept of irony?<br> <p></p><i></i>

Linear Thinking Here

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 4:52 am
by cointelpro
What if Dan Brown works for the Vatican/Opus Dei/some other Vatican sub-group?<br><br>In other words,<br><br>What if the Vatican wrote it themselves to (1) rally the "persecuted" (2) promote some other agenda (3) consolidate a right-ward push (4) etc.? <p></p><i></i>

Re: Linear Thinking Here

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 5:48 am
by Maurice Pinay
<br><!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>"And it seems more than passing strange that the makeup of the SCOTUS will include 5 Catholics out of nine judges if Alito is confirmed is not being mentioned in the press. While religious tests for public office are not allowed, it might appear that being Catholic has become one of them."<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--> <br><br>It might seem so on the face of it, but ...<br><br><br><!--EZCODE FONT START--><span style="font-size:x-large;"><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Rabbi Angel Kreiman Links Escriva's Teaching on Work to the Talmudic Tradition</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--></span><!--EZCODE FONT END--> <br><br><!--EZCODE ITALIC START--><em>"Many of Josemaria Escriva's concepts call to mind the Talmudic tradition and reveal his profound knowledge of the Jewish world."</em><!--EZCODE ITALIC END--> <br><br><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Rabbi Angel Kreiman, international vice president of the World Council of Synagogues, recently addressed a congress in Rome on Josemaria Escriva.</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--><br><br>31 January 2002<br><br><br>Rabbi Angel Kreiman recently contended that Josemaria Escriva's teachings are strongly rooted in Talmudic traditions about work. Kreiman, who is the international vice president of the World Council of Synagogues, made his remarks in an address to a congress in Rome on Opus Dei's founder. <br><br>The Talmudic concept of work, said Kreiman, is that "work is not a punishment, but man's duty, a blessing from God that allows us to fully enjoy the Sabbath and allows us to be in the image and likeness of God." Likewise, the rabbi noted, work was central to the teaching of Josemaria Escriva, who saw it as an original vocation of man and a blessing from God. <br> <br> <br><br>According to Kreiman, "to meet God within ordinary occupations and serve others through one's work is one of the principle non-violent battles to be won." The rabbi mentioned that in Hebrew "the word 'work' is also applied to religious worship, taking it to mean adoration as a holy action and in turn work as a holy adoration." Similarly, Blessed Escriva "never tired of repeating the necessity of transforming every occupation into prayer." <br><br>"Many of Josemaria Escriva's concepts call to mind the Talmudic tradition and reveal his profound knowledge of the Jewish world, as well as his passionate love, as he openly repeated, for two Jews, Jesus and Mary," said Rabbi Kreiman. "Moreover, that which most likens his teachings to Judaism is the vocation of man to serve God through creative work, perfecting creation every day, through perfection of work." <br><br>The rabbi said that he was pleased about the interreligious prayer meeting for peace occurring January 24 in Assisi. Such meetings, he said, "help us to remember often that we all have the same common father." <br><br>Kreiman also spoke of the need for Christians and Jews to "work together in favor of the principal humanitarian causes: social order, unemployment and poverty, drugs, hunger, and the fight against a consumerism empty of spirituality." He expressed his hope that "working and praying together, all according to our own traditions, we will arrive unified at the table of the Father." <br><br>Rabbi Kreiman was Chief Rabbi of Chile from 1970 to 1990, and is now a member of the executive committee of the International Council of Christians and Jews. He has chaired a foundation promoting Christian-Jewish interreligious dialogue since 1994, the year his wife Susy Kreiman was assassinated in Buenos Aires during a terrorist attack on the Central Jewish Community Office for work and unemployment, which she headed. <br><br>The Rabbi, who is a Cooperator of Opus Dei, said he wanted to demonstrate his special affection for the organization founded by Josemaria Escriva. "Opus Dei members helped me, right from the beginning of my seminary studies, to persevere in my vocation," he said, "and I have also seen them do it with other rabbis, for which I am deeply grateful." <br><br><!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="" target="top">From Opus Dei's Website</a><!--EZCODE LINK END--> <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=>Maurice Pinay</A> at: 2/6/06 2:49 am<br></i>

Re: Linear Thinking Here

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 6:03 am
by Maurice Pinay
From: (David Eliezrie)<br>Date: Sun, 8 Jan 1995 11:11:22 -0500<br><br><!--EZCODE FONT START--><span style="font-size:large;"><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Subject: National Conference on Jewish and Contemporary Law</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--></span><!--EZCODE FONT END--><br><br>Members of the list will interested to know about the upcoming National Conference on Jewish and Contemporary Law. Rabbonim and Judges, Roshie Yeshiva and Attorneys will meet for a weekend to discuss how two legal systems, one rooted in Divine Revalation the other as a result of mans case<br>by case efforts deal with modern problems. <br><br>Keynote speakers will by <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>The Honorable Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--> and Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz of Jerusalem. Joining them will be Professors Irving Breitowitz & Laurie Levenson, Judges Stephen Reinhardt, Bruce Einhorn and Norman Epstein, Rabbis Jack Simcha Cohen, David Eliezrie, Y. Kornfeld, Yosef Shusterman & Sholom Tendler.<br><br><br> <br><br>For information call 1 800-Law-2-Din or E mail to DavidE7848@aol. com<br><br><!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="" target="top"></a><!--EZCODE LINK END--><br> <p></p><i></i>

Re: Linear Thinking Here

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 6:09 am
by Maurice Pinay
<!--EZCODE FONT START--><span style="font-size:x-large;"><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Jewish Law Comes to D.C. </strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--></span><!--EZCODE FONT END--> <br> <br>James D. Besser<br><br>What does the <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Talmud</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--> have to say about legal and moral controversies in modern America? <br><br>Plenty, according to the creators of the new Washington-based National Institute for Judaic Law, which opened with a lavish Supreme Court dinner last month. <br><br>Some Orthodox activists say they can’t figure out exactly the point of the whole thing. But Noson Gurary, a Lubavitch rabbi who came up with the idea and won backing from some top Jewish legal experts, harbors no doubts. <br><br>“It will be an eye opener for judges, scholars and law students,” he told The Jewish Week. “Before you know where you’re going, you have to know where you came from. And Jewish law is the basis of our legal system in America.” <br><br><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Gurary said that the idea for the institute came in an exchange of letters in which Supreme Court Justice <!--EZCODE UNDERLINE START--><span style="text-decoration:underline">Antonin Scalia</span><!--EZCODE UNDERLINE END-->, one of the most conservative Justices, expressed his “fascination with Jewish [see: Talmudic] law.”</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--> <br><br>“And as a teacher of Judaic studies, I began to see the excitement of students who were being exposed to Jewish law for the first time, who now had a better understanding of where Western law come from,” Gurary said. <br><br>Gurary, who teaches at the University of Buffalo law school, said his target audience includes judges around the country and law students, not politicians and lawmakers. <br><br>According to Gurary, the group, which has hired two researchers to compile reports, will focus initially on the issue of business ethics. Eventually, the goal is to compile a library and database in Washington that will offer Jewish law insights into a host of contemporary issues and to help create courses on the subject at law schools nationwide. The institute will also inaugurate a monthly lunch series for legal machers in Washington. <br><br>The Buffalo rabbi is a relative unknown in the Jewish world. Not so some of the participants in the new project, including Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, former U.S. Solicitor General Seth Waxman and top constitutional lawyer Nathan Lewin and his law-partner/daughter, Alyza. <br><br>Alyza Lewin noted that “the idea is to make Jewish law accessible to the public — to jurists, legal scholars, the press, anybody.”<br><br><!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="" target="top">Original Article Archived Here</a><!--EZCODE LINK END--><br> <br> <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=>Maurice Pinay</A> at: 2/6/06 3:30 am<br></i>

Re: Linear Thinking Here

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 6:12 am
by Maurice Pinay
<!--EZCODE FONT START--><span style="font-size:x-large;"><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Jewish law institute launched in DC</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--></span><!--EZCODE FONT END--><br><br> <br>Nov. 9, 2002<br>By JANINE ZACHARIA<br><br>Jerusalem Post<br><br><br>Jewish legal experts have created a new institute that will educate jurists and others about 2,000 years of Jewish [Talmudic] law and promote the application of the teachings to contemporary legal disputes and other modern-day issues.<br><br>The launch of the Washington-based National Institute for Judaic Law was marked Tuesday night with a kosher dinner at the Supreme Court attended by 200 people, including three Supreme Court Justices - Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer, and <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Antonin Scalia</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END-->.<br><br>US President George W. Bush sent greetings and applauded the institute for promoting an "understanding of Judaism's rich tradition of legal thought."<br><br>"As we face new challenges and welcome new opportunities, our society must continue to promote good character and strong values. Through the study and teaching of Jewish law and philosophy you are contributing to a growing culture of service, citizenship, and responsibility in America," Bush wrote.<br><br><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Scalia</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END-->, in a letter to the institute's founder, Noson Gurary, wrote that "Jewish law is certainly one of the oldest and most highly developed systems" and explained why the comparative study of legal traditions was beneficial.<br><br>"The idea is to make Jewish law more accessible to everyone," said Washington lawyer Alyza Lewin. Both Lewin and her father Nathan Lewin are helping establish the institute.<br><br>Last year, Alyza Lewin filed a brief to the Supreme Court based on the Talmud's take on capital punishment when the court was readying to ear a case on the constitutionality of the electric chair.<br><br>"Legal scholars often like to know what other legal traditions have said about certain issues," said Alyza Lewin.<br><br>Filing that kind of opinion is only part of the institute's mandate.<br><br>It will also promote the teaching of Jewish law, develop curricula on Jewish law that can be integrated into traditional law school courses, and serve as a resource for anyone wanting to know what the vast Jewish legal tradition has to say on various issues.<br><br>The institute's first project, already underway, explores how Jewish law can be applied to modern-day issues surrounding corporate ethics, an idea spurred by the recent corporate scandals involving Enron and Worldcom.<br><br>Gurary, who teaches at the State University of New York at Buffalo, thought up the idea of the institute about nine months ago.<br><br>"By demonstrating the philosophy of Jewish law and its moral values, we can bring a little beacon of light in this world," Gurary said.<br><br>"I think this is what we need now, in this day and age."<br><br><!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="" target="top">Original Archived Here</a><!--EZCODE LINK END--> <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=>Maurice Pinay</A> at: 2/6/06 3:15 am<br></i>

From "The Plot Against the Church" by

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 1:21 pm
by Rigorous Intuition
Maurice Pinay:<br><br>“The secret Jews organized and controlled in secret manner the movements, which were the creative and driving-force of wicked false teachings, such as those of the ‘Catarensers,’ of the ‘Patarines,’ of the ‘Albignensians,’ of the ‘Hussites,’ of the ‘Illuminati’ and others.” (The Plot Against the Church, p.236)<br><br>And from Pinay's The Secret Driving Forces of Communism:<br><br>"Who has become capable of instigating this bloody mechanics of annihilation? Who can with such insensitivity direct and order this monstruous criminal process? And reality answers us completely without doubt, that the Jews are those responsible, as will later be proved."<br><br>Race-based conspiracy theorizing is not welcome here. Neither are posters assuming the names of far right polemicists. <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=>Rigorous Intuition</A> at: 2/6/06 10:49 am<br></i>

Re: Opus Dei seeks adult rating for Da Vinci Code

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 3:40 pm
by dbeach
AHEM<br><br>I still look forward to the movie BUT I not a big Hanks fan either and at this rate maybe I will pass on the movie<br><br>ANYWHO??<br><br>5 catholic right wingers on the USSC says something and its not good for regular Catholics and it sure is not good for society..<br><br>neo-con Catholics..trying to rule the planet with their phony christian balloney ...translate as satan /lucifer worship..<br><br>advocating absolute power in the hands of the executives..<br><br>and exploiting religiuos differences and confusion at EVRY turn.<br><br>Gona be a ruff ride!! <p></p><i></i>

Re: From "The Plot Against the Church" by

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 2:30 am
by Carry Bhamish
<!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Race-based conspiracy theorizing is not welcome here.<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--> <br><br>I'll keep that in mind. Although I don't foresee that it will ever be an issue as far as I am concerned. I don't believe in any "race-based" conspiracies. It's the Nazis and Judaics who believe in that nonsense. I do, however, acknowledge the <!--EZCODE ITALIC START--><em>fact</em><!--EZCODE ITALIC END--> that Talmudic, Kabbalistic and Freemasonic conspiracies exist.<br><br>The people who approach these matters with a focus on ethnicity are doomed to failure. The conspiracy is an ideological and spiritual one and that's how I address it.<br><br><br><!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Neither are posters assuming the names of far right polemicists.<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--> <br><br>I suppose that's the right of the forum administration. Does "Carry Bhamish" work for you, then? <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=>Carry Bhamish</A> at: 2/6/06 11:33 pm<br></i>

Re: From "The Plot Against the Church" by

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 3:11 am
by Rigorous Intuition
<!--EZCODE ITALIC START--><em>I suppose that's the right of the forum administration. Does "Carry Bhamish" work for you, then?</em><!--EZCODE ITALIC END--><br><br>"Carry Bhamish" is not an issue. But the hand you tipped as "Maurice Pinay" is not welcome here. So please respect the right of the forum administration to ban you again.<br> <p></p><i></i>

Opus Dei says of movie, "It's Just Fiction"

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 3:13 pm
by nomo
February 7, 2006<br>Catholic Group Says of 'Da Vinci Code' Film: It's Just Fiction<br>By LAURIE GOODSTEIN<br><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href=""></a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br><br>When "The Da Vinci Code" became a publishing sensation, leaders of the Roman Catholic organization Opus Dei realized they had an image problem on their hands.<br><br>The assassin in the best-selling thriller is an albino Opus Dei monk named Silas, and the group is depicted as a powerful but secretive cult whose members practice ritualistic self-torture. In a preface titled "Fact," the author, Dan Brown, said his book was more than mere fiction.<br><br>When plans were revealed for a movie based on the book, Opus Dei leaders say they tried to persuade Sony Pictures to excise any mention of their group, sending a letter last year saying the book was "a gross distortion and a grave injustice."<br><br>Their effort failed.<br><br>With the film starring Tom Hanks now set for release on May 19, Opus Dei is trying to sate public interest and cast the group in a very different light than the religious home of a fictional assassin.<br><br>The group is promoting a blog by an Opus Dei priest in Rome, revamping its Web site and even arranging interviews with a member said to be the only "real Silas" in Opus Dei — a Nigerian-born stockbroker who lives in Brooklyn.<br><br>Silas Agbim, the stockbroker, said that Opus Dei taught its members to hold themselves to the highest standards. "If you do your work well, it's pleasing to God," said Mr. Agbim, a graying father of three grown children who is married to a professor emeritus of library science. "And if you think you will get holy by reciting 10 rosaries a day and doing your work sloppily, that is wrong."<br><br>Still, the "Da Vinci Code" movie is sure to revive a long-simmering debate among Catholics over whether Opus Dei is a positive or negative influence in the church. Critics say that while the group is relatively small, a few members seem to hold important positions in the Vatican, including the pope's chief spokesman.<br><br>Questions about whether Opus Dei has outsize influence grew when Pope John Paul II granted the group a unique status in the church in 1982, and 10 years later set the group's founder on an unusually speedy track to sainthood.<br><br>Opus Dei's reputation for secrecy developed partly because of the group's tradition that members should not publicly proclaim their affiliation. "Is he or isn't he Opus Dei?" guessing games have focused on prominent figures, particularly in Washington.<br><br>A controversy exploded last year in England when it surfaced that Ruth Kelly, the young new secretary of education in the liberal Labor Party, was affiliated with Opus Dei. She did not deny it but never clarified her status with the group, prompting even louder criticism. Robert P. Hanssen, an F.B.I. agent who pleaded guilty in 2001 to spying for the Soviet Union, confirmed that he was a member and acknowledged that he had confided his crimes to his priest.<br><br>Opus Dei leaders say they are neither secretive, nor particularly powerful, nor lockstep conservatives. They say the group is a decentralized network of more than 84,541 Catholic lay people and 1,875 priests around the world, relatively small numbers in a church of 1.1 billion.<br><br>They say they have no aspirations to control the Vatican and believe their calling is to live out their devotion to God by doing their jobs well, be it janitor, senator or full-time mother. Opus Dei is Latin for "the work of God."<br><br>Lynn Frank, an Opus Dei member in Walden, N.Y., mother of seven and the owner-entrepreneur of a business that promotes healthful eating, said: "The determination I have definitely comes from my vocation with Opus Dei, because every single day with Opus Dei, you wake up and say, 'I'm giving 100 percent of my day to you, Lord.' And if you slack off, that's a boss you don't want to answer to."<br><br>Since its founding in 1928 by a Spanish priest, Josemaría Escrivá, the group has found favor with several popes, in particular John Paul II, whose theological emphasis on holiness, the importance of the family and the dignity of work meshed well with Father Escrivá's beliefs. In 1982, John Paul granted Opus Dei the status of a "personal prelature," and it remains the only one in the church, meaning that it has its own bishop who reports directly to the pope.<br><br>Then in 1992, Father Escrivá leapfrogged other candidates for sainthood and was beatified a mere 17 years after his death. He was canonized a saint in 2002.<br><br>Joaquín Navarro-Valls, a spokesman for John Paul and now for Pope Benedict XVI, is a member, as was one of the co-authors of a controversial Vatican document released in 2000, Dominus Iesus, on the primacy of Christianity. When the pope wanted to clean up an Austrian diocese where pornography was found on a seminary computer, he appointed a new bishop from Opus Dei.<br><br>Also feeding the impression of influence is Opus Dei's American headquarters, in New York, a 17-story building at the corner of Lexington Avenue and 34th Street on which the group spent $69 million for the property, construction and furnishing.<br><br>Mention of the location in "The Da Vinci Code" has brought a constant stream of the curious and conspiratorial to the door, said the doorman, Robert A. Boone. He says he tells them, "You think I'd be working here if there were people like Silas walking around?"<br><br>Some Opus Dei members are incensed about how the three-year-old best seller presents not only Opus Dei, but also Christianity. In "The Da Vinci Code," a pair of sleuthing heroes discover that the doctrine of Jesus' divinity was made up by the fourth-century Roman Emperor Constantine, and that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children.<br><br>Mr. Agbim said he had read the book. "It is poison," he said. "It will lead the people to have doubts."<br><br>But Opus Dei leaders are taking a less confrontational approach. Opus Dei's United States leader, the Rev. Thomas G. Bohlin, said, "We don't want the controversy to pump up publicity for the movie." Father Bohlin sent the letter to Sony Pictures asking that Opus Dei be left out of the movie and said he had received a "polite but noncommittal" response.<br><br>Jim Kennedy, a spokesman for Sony Pictures, said: "We see 'The Da Vinci Code' as a work of fiction and not intended to harm any organization. At its heart the film is a thriller, and we do agree that it really provides a unique opportunity for Opus Dei and other organizations to let people know more about their work and their beliefs."<br><br>After researching Opus Dei for a book, John L. Allen, the Vatican correspondent for The National Catholic Reporter, has concluded that its power and wealth have been largely exaggerated. The group's worldwide membership is about equivalent to the number of Catholics in the Diocese of Hobart on the island of Tasmania, Mr. Allen said.<br><br>Opus Dei keeps no central financial records, but Mr. Allen determined its assets to be $2.8 billion, a figure the group's spokesmen say appears accurate. Much of that is tied up in the schools and hospitals worldwide. Half of the expense for the New York headquarters was paid for by a single donation of stock, said Brian Finnerty, a spokesman.<br><br>"Opus Dei certainly is a growing force in church affairs, and they probably have a very disproportionate number of those church positions that have impact, but let's not mythologize that," said Mr. Allen, author of "Opus Dei: An Objective Look Behind the Myths and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church."<br><br>Some former members accuse Opus Dei of behaving like a cult, with aggressive recruiting and excessive control over members who choose to live in Opus Dei centers. Tammy DiNicola, who joined Opus Dei as a college student and left in 1990 after two years, said the organization pulled in idealistic and very spiritual people by deceiving them.<br><br>"They don't tell you you wouldn't spend any holidays with your family, your mail would be read, you would hand over your salary to them, and you wouldn't be able to watch television or radio or even leave the house without permission," said Ms. DiNicola, who helped found the Opus Dei Awareness Network to help former members.<br><br>Mr. Finnerty, the Opus Dei spokesman, said that contrary to accusations by some former members, independence and personal freedom were central to the doctrine.<br><br>Seventy percent of Opus Dei's members, like Lynn Frank and Silas Agbim, are working people, usually married, who live in their own homes, a category of membership known as "supernumerary." Although they maintain a rigorous schedule of daily prayer and reading, weekly confession and meetings with a spiritual director, they carry on with their lives and professions.<br><br>About 20 percent are "numeraries," who give their lives entirely to the organization, living as celibates in an Opus Dei center. Some hold outside jobs, but many work full time in affiliated institutions, like hospitals and schools. Ten percent are "associates," who are celibate but live on their own and not in Opus Dei centers.<br><br>Much of the eerie mystique surrounding Opus Dei comes from the numeraries' practice of "corporal mortification." In "The Da Vinci Code," Silas the murderous monk is shown whipping himself bloody and wearing a spiked chain around his thigh so tightly that it draws blood.<br><br>In reality, numeraries do wear a "cilice," a chain with points, under their pants for two hours a day. Once a week, they beat their backs with a small cord while reciting a prayer. Opus Dei says corporal mortification is an ancient Catholic practice that promotes penance and identification with the suffering of Christ.<br><br>Ms. DiNicola, the former member, said that wearing the cilice was supposed to be optional but that numerary members were made to feel guilty if they did not. "It does cut and it does leave little blood pricks," she said.<br><br>Despite the dismal portrayal of their group in "The Da Vinci Code," Opus Dei leaders acknowledge some benefits from the attention. Doubleday, the publisher of the book, is about to release "The Way," a collection of spiritual writing by Opus Dei's founder. Mr. Finnerty, the group's spokesman, said it was "The Da Vinci Code" that opened the door for the deal.<br> <p></p><i></i>